Flying taxis …maybe not completely insane?

Look, I know it’s hip to say that we weren’t promised flying cars. I know it’s a ridiculous air traffic control nightmare. At the same time, what if there were an awesome way to get from skyscraper to skyscraper? Lemme tell you about Volocopter.

Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) used to envision elevated trains between skyscrapers, running through the buildings. It didn’t happen. Instead, we have Volocopter.

Metropolis with its trains running through skyscrapers

Volocopter are conducting maiden test flights in an urban environment. They’ve unveiled the first “VoloPort” in Singapore. Imagine if you took a drone, added about four times as many rotors, and scaled it up to carry humans. That’s Volocopter.

Volocopter is electric, vertical takeoff and landing, and apparently able to navigate urban environments after this 3 minute test in Singapore. The next model, VoloCity, is predicted to fly at as much as 110km/h, with a 35km range.

This places it squarely in the inter-city taxi product space. They expect to fulfill the needs for business travelers trying to get across the city fast. We probably won’t see thousands of these things, but shuttle between airports, a few hundred seem reasonable.

There are loads of air traffic problems to work out with this many vehicles in the sky, but as the fulfillment of sci-fi dreams go, this is one of those things that keeps me hopeful.

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